25 Years Ago: 50 percent of weekend, work release inmates fail drug tests

From The Aegis dated Oct. 1, 1987:

Of all the weekend and work release inmates at Harford County Detention Center, half of them failed drug tests administered early in September 1987, it was announced 25 years ago this week.

The results prompted tighter security measures that include more stringent testing on a weekly, rather than monthly, basis.

The tests were a result of an internal investigation at the jail into statements that drugs were being smuggled into the jail. The investigation could result in criminal charges against "one or several" inmates if the allegations were correct.

A spokesman for the Harford County Sheriff's Office, which ran the detention center, would not disclose what drugs were found either in the jail or inmates test results. Nor would he comment as to how the drugs were smuggled in.

"When you are in jail, sitting there all the time ... you can think of ways of getting it in," Maj. Jesse Bane said.

A compact car collided with a garbage truck on Route 136 north of the Aberdeen Proving Ground Tank Testing Ground 25 years ago this week. The driver of the compact, Tim Childress, was killed on impact. Excessive speed on the part of Mr. Childress caused the crash, which forced closing of the road for about two hours, police said.

A 34-year-old man died this week 25 years ago when he fell about 75 feet from the Hatem Memorial Bridge while working on it as part of a project to strengthen the steel. Divers searched for the man for two hours before recovering the body of Benjamin H. Lamoon Jr.

Harford County Executive J. Habern Freeman admitted 25 years ago this week it was possible the county government's administration could move out of the county seat of Bel Air and out into the county.

During what he called a daylong brainstorming session, Freeman said many of the county agencies, like the health department, administration, library system and others were outgrowing the spaces they were in. Expansions of some were discussed, as was the possibility of moving out of Bel Air and creating "a county village" at a site that could accommodate all the county's government operations.

"Of course, you have the traditionalists who think everything should be centrally located in the county seat near the courts and the assessment office and other state offices, and then you have those who think we should pack up and move," Freeman said.

In 1987, it was estimated a new building would cost between $80 and $100 per square foot, and officials estimated the need for at about 100,000 square feet, which translated to $8 million to $10 million.

With the prospect of $10 million for a new county office building and an additional $90 million in other capital projects over the next 10 years, Freeman was backing off his support for a parking garage in Bel Air.

The project, which had to date received mixed blessings, was to be on county-owned land, the former Polan property bounded by Bond, Hays and Thomas streets and the Mary Risteau office building. The county's contribution to the project would be the land, Freeman said, but "it appears more and more likely that the project will never get off the ground unless the county agrees to commit substantial financial resources of its own..." according to The Aegis.

Montgomery Ward was the place to get paint 25 years ago this week, where Dutch Boy, Glidden, Behr and Great Coat paints were on sale for $7.99 to $9.99 a gallon. All in-stock wall coverings were 50 percent off and painting accessories were 50 percent off.

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